Archive for August, 2010

At our recent Denver Queen City Show, my pals and I scratched our heads. We enviously watched juniors and 20-somethings mount their Saddlebreds to compete and wondered, where are our young folks? 

At 37, I was the youngest Peruvian exhibitor there. And while I’m thrilled to be considered sprightly, the sad truth is I’m waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay closer to the privileges of AARP membership than I am to the proud day I earned my horseback riding badge in Girl Scouts. 

I know our horses are a great option for achey Baby Boomers. But I also know I got hooked on the smooth ride when I was 22. I was drawn to the welcoming community, the trail riding, exhibitions and shows. And I’m even a Texas native who grew up with the unofficial state breed — Quarter Horses. 

I also wonder why our breed doesn’t have a more prominent presence on the competetive trail circuit. I know there are several breeders who make a proud showing at those events, but I think those are mostly Peruvian owners who find the sport rather than competitors who find our breed. Here in Colorado, there’s no better way to enjoy the stunning beauty of our state than on the back of a Peruvian. But I’ve never come across one on hikes or rides. 

So how do we expand our breed’s popularity? More exhibitions? A competetive trail team? An ambassador program to do exhibitions at multi-breed shows? I know this is going on in pockets across the country already, but do we need a more organized approach, and who’s going to step up to lead that? 

I also firmly believe we need to be more aggressively pursuing new riders via social media. We need to follow the example of the Quarter Horse folks whose tweets I follow and whose Facebook page has more than 100,000 likes.  Or the National Reining Horse Association with their 800-plus Twitter followers (at least our club has a custom background) and more than 7,000 likes on Facebook

I’m always on the lookout for more Peruvian nuts out here in cyberspace, and I’m so glad the National Show and several other clubs have Facebook pages. If you have a Twitter account, Facebook page,  YouTube channel — whatever — please send me a link. Building our reach isn’t a quick or easy process, but I really think it’s key to sharing our fantastic breed with an untapped audience.

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I’m quite bummed to report that this year’s Peruvian Horse Show at the Colorado State Fair has been canceled.

We really appreciate all the hard work that went into the show and the folks who registered, but we just didn’t get enough entries to justify the show from the fair’s perspective. They’ve offered us a spot during the actual fair next year, which is a good thing. Some exhibitors told us they only wanted to show during the actual fair. This year, we were scheduled for the week before the fair. Typically we can only snag a time during the actual fair every other year.

I also heard from folks who said they were willing to travel to Colorado from out of state once, but not twice.  We had a great turnout at the Denver Queen City Horse Show, and several ranches promised to return next year.

So we’ll see how things pan out for next summer. I’d love to hear feedback that would help us plan for next year.

Out-of-staters: What would bring you to Colorado? Would you come to two shows in Colorado? If you only come to one, would you rather show in Denver at the National Western Complex (indoor arena/nice facility, joint show with Saddlebreds, larger city), or in Pueblo (no indoor but covered outdoor, less expensive classes, cash payouts for winners)?

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